Juan Fernando Garcia graduated from Platt College back in 2007 and since then has had nothing but success working in the design industry. His current job is working as an artist for gamer and geek apparel company, J!NX. If you follow our other blogs or posts on social media, chances are you’ve seen Juan’s work show up a couple of times. He even held the top 3 spots in our Top 20 designs from last year! It was only a matter of time before we gave him his own blog spotlight. Read on to learn more about Juan and what inspires his creative mind.
Natasha: You’ve recently started working at the gamer clothing company J!NX as an artist. Congratulations! What’s been your favorite part of the job so far?
Juan: Thanks! Everything, it’s such a creative and fun environment, I look forward to going everyday. You know it’s a cool job when you don’t want to leave and when Friday comes you feel let down that you have to wait two more days to get come back.
Natasha: Are there any products designed by you in their shop yet? If so, which one is your favorite?
Juan: None are in the shop yet, I’m proud that my first two designs for World of Warcraft – Legion got approved in one shot with no changes. I also have a few things in the pipeline for the Warcraft movie, Halo, and the Witcher.
Natasha: When did you first discover your passion for art and design?
Juan: I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. One was to be a superhero and the other was to be an artist. Since I didn’t have a tragic accident happen to my parents in a dark alley or find a radioactive spider to bite me, I decided to become an Artist.
As a kid I became a sponge for comics, cartoons, movies, but Batman is the character I gravitated to and the artists who drew him like Mike Mignola, George Pratt, Jim Aparo, Norm Breyfogle, and Neal Adams just to name a few. In the cartoon world it was Transformers, Robotech/Macross, G.I.Joe, Disney, He-man, Thundercats, Voltron, Dragonball and of course Batman TAS. Ahhh, Bruce Timm he changed it all for me his style influences my work to this day. In movies its Star Wars, John Waters, Stanley Kubrick, Tim Burton, David Lynch, Akira Kurosawa, Mel Brooks, and Terry Gilliam.
Natasha: If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
Juan: Omnipotence then I could have all the powers.
Natasha: Tell us about a real-life situation that has inspired an art piece of yours.
Juan: I recently started introducing my 3 year old daughter Penelope to the works of Studio Ghibli after watching a few of the movies with her, I came up with my Miyazaki Madness piece.
Natasha: What’s been your most stressful experience as a designer?
Juan: To me it’s when the client can’t decide what they want and keep asking for changes even after they approved something but they showed it to friends and they had notes on changes. Sometimes you can’t save them from themselves no matter how much you try. But it’s part of the job sometimes.
Natasha: What would you say is the most memorable moment of your design career?
Juan: I think it’s two moments when I saw a product designed in a Wal*Mart and the second is when it was knocked off the following year at a Big Lots.
Natasha: What was the most valuable thing you learned during your studies at Platt College?
Juan: It was learning the basics of using the software and tools. And there’s only so much you can learn while in class you need to make the effort on your own time to master the software and tools. Then be aware that what you just think you mastered changed and there’s always something new. You always have to keep learning and adapting. And be social you never know the person next to you may get a job somewhere and when there’s an opening they may recommend you.
Natasha: Any final words of advice for our students who are just getting started with their design careers?
Juan: Be open to criticism, grow a thick skin. Don’t get hung up on a design because sometimes you’ll create something you think is amazing for a client and some other designs that are so-so and they’ll pick one of the weaker designs, the one you never intended to get out into the world. Not everything you do is going to be a portfolio piece. But work just as hard on it as if it was. Also sketch, draw, scribble, take life drawing, go to a sketch party at a bar. You may not think you may need it with technology in today’s world but it’s a skill that helps out a lot.